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Nessel announces labor trafficking charges against Three Rivers convenience store owners

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel stands at a podium in a green suit with a black shirt at the Kalamazoo YWCA.  Jessica Glynn of the Kalamazoo YWCA stands next to her in a black suit coat over a multi colored dress.
Leona Larson
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says her office has opened several investigations into labor trafficking recently. She announced charges in one case at the Kalamazoo YWCA on Tuesday, April 30. The YWCA's Jessica Glynn stands to her left.

The alleged victim came to the United States from India and is married to one of the accused.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel was in Kalamazoo on Tuesday announcing trafficking charges against three owners of the Broadway Market liquor store in Three Rivers. They’re accused of exploiting a woman who came to the United States from India to get married.

“Shortly after arriving in Michigan, the victim began working at a convenience store, never receiving payment for her labor, and working off the payroll books. She was required to work eight to nine hours a day, seven days a week, against her will, and under threat of severe physical, mental, and emotional abuse,” Nessel said.

Nessel added that the woman “likely interacted with dozens or even hundreds of customers every day. The face of human trafficking is not always obvious, and it's not always in line with common presumptions.”

The accused are the woman’s husband, Ikbahl Singh Machhal, age 40, as well as his parents, Kartar Chand, 67, and Shila Devi, 66. All are from Three Rivers.

The husband and mother-in-law were arrested on April 29. But the father-in-law has not been arrested as he is out of the country.

Nessel made the announcement at the Kalamazoo YWCA, where the alleged victim received services. Nessel credited the Three Rivers Police Department with uncovering the alleged labor trafficking.

Leona has worked as a journalist for most of her life - in radio, print, television and as journalism instructor. She has a background in consumer news, special projects and investigative reporting.